HER Awards (l-r): Charlie Wall-Andrews, Savannah Ré, Kellylee Evans, Jenn Brown
HER Awards (l-r): Charlie Wall-Andrews, Savannah Ré, Kellylee Evans, Jenn Brown

Music News Digest, Feb. 16, 2023

Awards news

The SOCAN Foundation has announced Kellylee Evans and Savannah Ré as the grand prize recipients of the third annual Her Music Awards, in partnership with Bandzoogle. “This important initiative has previously supported trailblazing artists including Haviah Mighty, Leela Gilday, Nuela Charles, and Caveboy,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, Executive Director of SOCAN Foundation. SOCAN CEO Jenn Brown and Haviah Mighty announced the recipients at an in-person celebration hosted by Charles in Toronto on Feb. 9. Evans and Ré were both awarded a $5K cash prize and a one-year complimentary membership from the Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) and Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ). Additionally, five Her Music Awards (and a $1K cash prize) honourable mention distinctions were awarded to Haley Blais, Jorane, Moira & Claire, Tanika Charles and Zeina. The Awards are administered by the SOCAN Foundation, with financial contributions made by SOCAN Foundation and Bandzoogle. More info here.

Festivals news

–The NXNE festival in Toronto has just announced the first wave of artists for its summer event, with notable names including Black Note Graffiti, Charmaine, Housewife, Platinum Moon and Shawnee Kish. NXNE runs June 13-17, with close to 300 acts showcasing. It also unveiled a festival partnership with Neo Financial that will allow fans to score a free full festival pass, plus a $10 credit by signing up for a Neo product with no financial commitment at nxne.com. Full festival passes are available now for $25, with single tickets available for $15. NXNE Headquarters, located at It’s OK* (468 Queen Street West), will feature a lounge, parties, band merchandise, performances and a series of music industry panels for performing artists programmed in conjunction with CIMA. 

– Tickets are now on sale for the following Juno Week events in Edmonton: Juno Songwriters’ Circle. Juno Comedy Show, Juno fest, Juno Cup, Juno Fan Fare, Junior Junos, and Juno Stories from the Studio. The events take place from March 10-13. Tickets and info are available at junoawards.ca

– The Hagersville Rocks fest on July 15 boasts a strong lineup headed by blues-rock guitar heroes Colin James and David Wilcox, plus the funky big band, My Son the Hurricane. The annual festival will be held at the Heaslip Ford Amphitheatre at Grant Kett Memorial Park in Hagersville, ON. Tix on sale now here

– Taking place July 6-8, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival in Prince Edward Island has announced the country music performers for its Colliding Tides Kitchen Stage. Notable names include Eric Ethridge, Justin Fancy, Brittany Kennell, Jess and Tay, Sykamore, and Willie Stratton. Check the full list here.

Industry news

–  The Moose Knuckles Heatmakers x Prism Prize Music Video Production Grant was recently announced. This is a new production support initiative launched by outerwear company Moose Knuckles and the Prism Prize to aid in the creation of high-quality music video content from the Canadian rap and hip-hop community. Applications for the inaugural round of funding are now open here, with a March 10 deadline.

Each round of the Heatmakers Grant will offer support for three creative teams with up to $20K in funding for the production of their music video. One creative team, consisting of a recording artist and music video director, will also be designated as the round’s “Ambassador” and will be awarded an additional $15K in production funding.  The grant, administered by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, will also prioritize recording artists and directors who identify as women, non-binary, LGBTQ2IA+, Indigenous, as a person with disabilities or as a Person of Colour. 

– Hamilton Public Library is celebrating Jackie Washington Day and World Radio Day tomorrow (Feb. 17), with special performances at Central Library, noon-3 pm. Info here. Roots music luminary Washington became Canada's first black disc jockey in 1948 at Hamilton's CHML radio station.

– On Feb. 23, Music Nova Scotia presents Seedling Sessions, a professional development/networking day and dinner running from 11 am - 6 pm, followed by an all-ages live music showcase at 7 pm. The event features four training sessions for emerging and developing youth from African Nova Scotian & Black communities in Nova Scotia. Participants include Aquakulture, Jody Upshaw, and Kye Clayton. RSVP for the sessions here.  The all-ages showcase at Radstorm features Bucky Blanks, Clayton, Upshaw, Jupiter Reign, and more. Proceeds from ticket sales of this event will be donated to Hope Blooms to support them in building a recording studio in their community space. Tix here. 

– Canadian country music authority Larry Delaney recently alerted FYI to the fact that Murray McLauchlan's classic hit, The Farmer's Song, is turning 50. It appeared on his 1973 self-titled sophomore album, out on True North Records. It was initially released on the B-side of the McLauchlan single Lose We, in Feb. 1973, but became a hit after CKBY (Ottawa) Program Director and DJ Ted Daigle started playing "The Farmer's Song". It brought McLauchlan a Top 10 hit on the RPM Charts and his first Juno Award. The song has since become a standard on the Canadian country music scene with versions recorded by a long list that includes George Hamilton IV, R. Harlan Smith, Merv Smith, J. Doc James, Lindsay Thomas Morgan, Otto Bright, Walter Ostanek, Miriam Dreher, Murray Williams, and more. McLauchlan's original recording has also been featured on the CCMA's Bound For Moving On, a 40-song retrospective of Canadian Country Music.

– On Feb. 21, Indie Week hosts a brief online press conference to share plans for its 2023 activities. Register here to attend.

Artists news

– Following the release of a new single, Bye Bye Big Bear, Hamilton rock trio The Dirty Nil has announced a co-headlining North American tour with Daniel Romano’s Outfit. It begins in Ferndale, MI on June 1, closing out in Buffalo on July 14. Tix go on sale here tomorrow (Feb. 17).

– The Hamilton Music Collective's Meet the Songwriter series returns on Feb. 25 (1:30-2:15 pm) at The Gasworks, featuring James Bryan. He gained Canadian pop stardom with The Philosopher Kings and Prozzak, and is also a producer, solo singer/songwriter and ace guitarist. More info here.

–- Today (Feb. 16), the highly-regarded Toronto-based singer/songwriter Steven Taetz releases a new album Late Bloom, one described as "a foray into the nuanced world of Americana." He launches it with a hometown show at The Dakota Tavern the same night.

– On March 19 (at 2 pm), Toronto roots music giant Ken Whiteley, with soulful singers Ciceal Levy, David Wall and Pat Patrick, will take the stage at Revival, marking the 21st anniversary of his Gospel Matinees at Hugh’s Room Live. Whiteley created the initial series to record an album that would become Gospel Music Makes Me Feel Alright!, and among the participants on that album are the singers joining him for the concert. Tix here.

– After making a mark on the Toronto scene as a singing drummer and studio backup vocalist, Zoe Ackah is now pursuing a solo path, spearheaded by an upcoming album, This Hen, that has a country/Americana vibe. We've heard the record in advance and can recommend it unequivocally. Here's the lead single, Gotta Stop Loving You (But I Can't).

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